Navigation Links
Beetle dung helps forests recover from fire
Date:12/3/2007

Armed with a pair of tweezers and a handful of beetle droppings, University of Alberta forestry graduate Tyler Cobb has discovered why the bug-sized dung is so important to areas ravaged by fire.

Cobb studied the burned-out area of a northern Alberta hamlet which was partially lost to wildfire during the blazing summer of 2001. By studying a certain species of fire-loving beetles hard at work in the burned and decaying trees, he was able to determine that the insects droppings play a vital role in replenishing soil nutrients that help plants regenerate after a fire.

Cobb, while earning his PhD in the University of Alberta Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics, in the Department of Renewable Resources, worked with about 10 grams of beetle dung50 to 60 beetles can produce just a handfulover two years, slowly teasing it apart with tweezers and chemically analyzing the contents and using it for experiments to pinpoint the benefits to soil.

Beetle droppingsknown in the scientific world as frassare crucial to forests recovering from fire. The tiny piles of droppings, found at the bases of trees, resemble cones of sawdust, and they help nourish the forest floor by increasing microbial activity in the soil. This process can also determine which kinds of trees grow back.

This means that rather than being considered a pest or a nuisance, these beetles are in fact very important to helping burned forests recover, Cobb said. He is concerned, though, because salvage logging is taking the beetles out of the forest before they can do their job; the insects lay their eggs in the dead trees, and the larvae are subsequently destroyed when the wood is processed at sawmills. That population is being removed from the salvage site and that takes away the mechanism by which the nutrients are returned to the soil.

Salvage logging should be delayed after a fire to allow the beetles to complete their life cycle, Cobb said. In theory, if you delayed logging for two years, these beetle populations could survive. Another option, he added, is to leave some burned timberperhaps 10 to 25 per centas-is.

Though he intensively studied the frass of only one beetle species, Cobb says that dead wood-associated beetles are found throughout the world, and that without their valuable back-end contributions, forests damaged by fire and other disturbances will be worse off. Forest management activities that threaten these species could have widespread ecological impacts. Wherever youve got forest youve got a beetle community essentially dedicated to this decomposition process, which is critical to the overall health of the forest.


'/>"/>

Contact: Bev Betkowski
beverly.betkowski@ualberta.ca
780-492-3808
University of Alberta  
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Sex is thirst-quenching for female beetles
2. Mountain pine beetle: Canadas new government delivers
3. Japanese beetle may help fight hemlock-killing insect
4. Minister Lunn to attend Union of BC Municipalities Pine Beetle Conference
5. Natural chemical found in broccoli helps combat skin blistering disease
6. Device helps patients survive, regain function til transplant
7. Presence of gene mutation helps guide thyroid cancer treatment
8. CABI helps phase out dangerous pesticide in EU
9. Diet support helps chronic kidney patients
10. Argonne helps China create cleaner Beijing for 2008 Olympics
11. A tiny pinch from a z-ring helps bacteria cells divide
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Beetle dung helps forests recover from fire
(Date:2/5/2016)... 2016 http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/5kvw8m/global_facial ) ... "Global Facial Recognition Market 2016-2020" report ... ) has announced the addition of the ... report to their offering. --> ... announced the addition of the "Global ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... , Feb. 3, 2016 Vigilant Solutions ... Police Department in Missouri solved ... plate reader (LPR) data from Vigilant Solutions. ... case in which the victim was walking out of a convenience store and ... space next to his vehicle, striking his vehicle and ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016 Checkpoint ... that Rising Market Are you interested in ... forecasts revenues for checkpoint inhibitors. Visiongain,s report gives ... submarket, product and national level. Avoid falling ... what progress, opportunities and revenues those emerging cancer ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... 12, 2016  BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE: ... today announced the launch of the BD CLiC™ System ... (AGBT) Meeting. --> ... by providing cost effective NGS library preparation with limited ... fully integrated, next generation sequencing (NGS) library prep instrument, ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... DIEGO, Feb. 11, 2016  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: NBIX ... ended December 31, 2015. --> ... a net loss of $29.3 million, or $0.34 loss per share, ... per share for the same period in 2014. For the year ... $88.9 million, or $1.05 loss per share, as compared to a ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ATLANTA , Feb. 11, 2016  Spectra BioPharma ... Organization (CSO) that provides biopharma companies the experience, ... implement and deploy outsourced sales teams. Created in ... team addresses both the strategic and tactical needs ... innovative sales solutions through both personal and non-personal ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... BEACH, Florida , February 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... PositiveID Corporation ("PositiveID" or "Company") (OTCQB: PSID), ... diagnostics, announced today that its Thermomedics subsidiary, which ... progress on its growth plan in January 2016, ... products distributors, increasing sequential monthly sales growth, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: